After two and a half months, a downtown mainstay breakfast and lunch spot will reopen at its new Main Street location this week.
Flexit Cafe, which debuted in 2015, operated for six years in the former Maine Grind building at 192 Main St. in Ellsworth. That space is now the headquarters for health supplement manufacturer Desert Harvest. The cafe closed and moved out of its old space in December 2021.
The cafe closed in December 2021, and moved out of that space. On Monday they plan to serve up breakfast and lunch at their new location, just a few doors down at 142 Main St.
Flexit is one of several eateries and restaurants including 86 This, Sri Lankan restaurant Serendib, Provender Kitchen + Bar and Airline Brewing Company, which have helped boost and maintain Ellsworth’s thriving year-round downtown for the past several years.
Around the same time the former owners of the Maine Grind building put it up for sale, Flexit Cafe owners (and married couple) Paul Markosian and Lorena Stearns began thinking about downsizing the cafe at a new location on Main Street. They found it last year, after Desert Harvest bought the former Maine Grind, in a space for lease in the Tracy Building — directly next door to Finn’s Irish Pub, which Markosian and Stearns also own.
The new space was part of the former J&B Atlantic store, which sold household goods and consignment items on all three tiered levels of the Tracy Building before it shut down in 2016. The building has since been subdivided and the third tier, where Flexit has moved, needed extensive modifications to house a restaurant, including significant plumbing and electrical upgrades.
It took several months of work to prepare the new space for Flexit to reopen.
Markosian said that the cafe has proved to be a popular meeting spot for people to eat lunch, grab a quick breakfast, or to meet over a cup of coffee. The cafe’s wifi also has been popular with customers looking to get online while they grab a bite to eat.
“We’re a community hub,” Markosian said, noting that he and Stearns wanted to maintain that part of the cafe’s appeal in its new location.
The new space is a little smaller than the old one, but the amount of seating is almost the same, Markosian said. The cafe still has a couple of couches and the same big, tall square game table that it had in the old space, along with more typical cafe tables.
The biggest difference is that the kitchen operations, including storage, are much more concentrated than in the old space, where workers frequently had to run up and down a long flight of stairs to get to storage space in the basement.
“We had a lot of steps and it was very spread out,” Markosian said. “The smaller kitchen is going to make things more efficient.”
The menu is changing slightly, too, though Flexit kitchen manager Allie Hopkins-Stratton said much of those changes have been “adjustments” to items already on the menu.
For example, Flexit still has breakfast sandwiches, though it now is using brioche buns instead of English muffins. It serves steel cut oats, acai bowls, a tofu scramble wrap, and still has banh mi and cubano sandwiches. As before, a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads are on the lunch menu.
“We wanted to punch up the flavor of some of our offerings,” Markosian said.
As the cafe reopens, it likely will have shorter hours than it did as it gets used to operating in the new space and as it looks to fill more positions, he said. The goal is to eventually work back to being open from around 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at least six days a week, though the kitchen still will close each day at 2:30.
“We’d love to hire another cook, and it’s a fun place to work,” Markosian said.